Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Unwanted Things

So, I can't decide if the name Weeds (Showtime's program) is truly about pot, or if it is a reference to unwanted things that grow in the yard/garden. The more I watch it, the more I think it is a mixture of the two. I mean, there's no doubting that the show is about wacky tabacky, but for me it's also like that unwanted plant that grew up in the rocks that is messing up the asthetics of the rock area, but at the same time has interesting leaves and blooms. I don't hate Weeds, but I don't like it - yet I watch it. I think the allure is clever writing, a few interesting characters, and actors I like. I've always like Mary Louise Parker and Elizabeth Perkins. Kevin Nealon was funny on SNL and he's at the top of his game in Weeds! Here's the thing - the whole premise of the show it utterly infuriating, and for me, not the least bit humorous or endearing. The setting: In an affluent suburb, mommy and daddy have two sons. Daddy dies. Mommy decides to become a dealer in order to keep the family in the luxury they are accustomed to. As things fall apart and get dangerous, it's difficult to feel sorry for mommy because she goes home and swims in her lavish pool, or lounges on her $1,000 couch. She used her savings, stocks, and bonds to open a bakery to be a front for the money she's making as a dealer. I guess this situation is supposed to be cute and funny, but it disgusts me. How about, she uses her savings, stocks, and bonds to buy a more affordable house that may result in her moving out of the suburbs and get a job to support her kids? I guess that would be a much less funny show because it's real life. The sad thing for me it that the show IS real life. We live in a time where when people are struggling to survive in a city that is under water, when searching for food and supplies if you're Black it's called "Looting" and if you're White it's called "searching for food and supplies". In this show, the nice, affluent White lady is ok selling drugs. All the other drug dealers she runs into are people of color (clear because of stereotyped dress or thick accents or both) are ruthless and violent. Even the DEA agent who gets involved in the show is willing to turn a blind eye to her activities while taking down the dealers of color. It occurs to me that the creator of this show thought this might be an issue, so in order to "diversify", she wrote Conrad - a Black man who has no "thug" in him (as a mean ol' gangster drug dealer pointed out) to be a Token in her main cast. Heck, he's even the main character's love-interest-but-not-really (sexual tension always makes for good tv). The writers try and be up-front about the racism in the dynamics between characters [When one of the affluent lady's cars is hit by a vehicle being driven by an undocumented worker who drives away in fear, the Latina maid of the lady's friend tells her she is sorry about her car, Lady - "Do you know who hit me? Was it one of your maid friends?" Maid - "I don't know her name. We just call each other Maid Friend"], but it's the racism that is inherent in the show, which is invisible and seen as normal that is the most dangerous kind.

1 comment:

EssBee said...

I agree with you, 100%. I do think the show is worthy of our time because Kevin Nealon is awesome.

I mentioned to you the other day that the "Labor Day Special Feature" of our lame-o Longmont paper consisted of 15 or so mini-profiles of Longmont's workers. Not one single person featured was a person of color -- all of them were white folks.

Are we really living in a world where scrubbing the local paper, the gated subdivisions, and the pot dealers clean and white helps people sleep better at night? Did I really ask that question?